The Alabama House Education Policy Committee approved a bill that would allot 15 minutes at the start of each school day to the reading of prayers from US congressional sessions.
Republican Rep. Steve Hurst initiated the bill citing:
If Congress can open with a prayer, and the state of Alabama Legislature can, I don’t see why schools can’t.
Bill HB318, which can be read at OpenBama.org, says:
This bill provides for a period of time in the public schools for studying the formal procedures of the United States Congress including the verbatim reading of a congressional opening prayer.
Although critics of the bill say it is a ruse to institute school prayer, Rep. Hurst insists its more of a civics lesson. He told The Anniston Star:
They could read the prayer from the day war was declared in World War II. They could read the prayer the day after Sept. 11.
Hurst reasons that this cannot be unconstitutional because it would be a reading of a prayer "verbatim" as was recorded in the congressional record and does not set a requirement for students to pray.
The bill was passed by way of voice vote and no one disputed the outcome.